NOW, SIT UP: Jeff Brinker (left) and Hongyou Fan observe satisfactory fluorescence by their well-trained nanocrystals in water solution. The dark vial holds gold nanocrystals; the orange and green are semiconductor nanocrystals. (Photo by Randy Montoya)
Top image: ordered gold nanocrystal packed inside silica. Electron diffraction pattern (left corner image) and high-resolution image (right corner) confirmed the nanostructure and gold nanocrystals. Bottom image: self-assembled, well-shaped gold nanocrystal/silica arrays.
Possible uses include biological labeling, laser light, catalysts, memory storage, and relief for physicists
A wish list for nanotechnologists might consist of a simple, inexpensive means - actually, any means at all - of self-assembling nanocrystals into robust orderly arrangements, like soup cans on a shelf or bricks in a wall, each separated from the next by an insulating layer of silicon dioxide.
The silica casing could be linked to compatible semiconductor devices. The trapped nanocrystals might function as a laser, their frequency dependent on their size, or as a very fine catalyst with unusually large surface area, or perhaps a memory device tunable by particle size and composition.
Neal Singer | Sandia!
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